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New hope for parents of premature babies as parental leave could be set to extend

A Bill proposing to make the statutory parental leave more flexible for parents whose babies are born prematurely or are very sick has passed its first reading.

The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Premature and Sick Babies, David Linden MP, explained that “many parents who face the brutal choice of having to return to work whilst their child is still in hospital.”

He highlighted the fact that in some cases a child might be born very prematurely and could “spend weeks on neonatal intensive care units”. In such cases, parental leave, particularly paternal leave, is often grossly inadequate

“Existing UK employment legislation takes no account of the fact that some babies will spend much longer in hospital after being born, especially if they’re born premature or sick,” he said.

The MP for Glasgow East spoke from personal experience in regard to his own children, both of whom were born prematurely and spent weeks in intensive care. The fact that parental leave was so limited forced him back to work whilst his child was still in the hospital.

This simple but important initiative did not receive any opposition and will help, if it becomes law, relieve pressure on parents who have a very sick or premature baby.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said:

“Ten Minute Rule Bills rarely become law, so we are calling on the Government to commit to introducing new legislation that will ensure that these proposals become law.

“This small change in the law would provide parents with the flexibility that would ensure they are able to care for their child without the added pressure of potentially losing their job.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.